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Beating Piracy is about making people *WANT* to Pay

By on August 2, 2012
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Robert Florence wrote an interesting piece on piracy on Eurogamer. I think it is broadly right, although some people have commented on his "staggering sense of entitlement".

image

The most useful bit for me was this six stage decision tree.

1. HERE IS A THING I LIKE

2. DO I WANT IT? (YES)

3. DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR IT? (NO)

4. DO I WANT TO PAY FOR IT? (YES/NO)

5. YES: PAY FOR IT

6. NO: JUST TAKE IT FOR FREE

END

Robert says that publishers should stop trying to fix #6, and focus on #4 instead. I totally agree. What do you think?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • Wilson999

    And of course, that’s from the kind of people who are interested in a bundle of indie games, who might be more likely to pay to support a developer (this is just a gut feeling of course, I could be totally wrong here, and certainly have no evidence to back that up). 

  • Dataferret

    The upper bound was about 20% if you take humblebundle’s report on their first bundle. It was DRM free and you could get it for 1c (close enough for free).

  • Dataferret

    What ever happened to #6-no, just walk away?

    If people stop dealing with you in real life, whether it be a job, spouse, or socially, your choice on which 6 you take might suggest why. Excuses are hollow. Your action means more to me, and I wouldn’t hire you nor do business with you if you are so pitiful as to blame your actions on others, in this case ‘the lazy developer’.

  • Billy

    Yes. I’m fed up of hearing about developers blaming poor sales on piracy. Normally they only tell you piracy rates of the launch period which gives false data. Piracy rates drop off to almost nothing after a few weeks. 

    PIRACY IS GOOD! 

    They are going to pay for the game anyway, and will help spread the word. Get them with adverts or something instead. Piracy on iPhone in most territories (excluding China etc) is very very low. If you have money for an iPhone you would not bother hacking your phone to download $1 apps.     

  • Wilson999

    Yeah, that’s certainly possible – though I didn’t think it would be impossible that some of those types of people would pay if they saw no other option. Of course some of them are never going to pay, but perhaps some of the less tech savvy might be deterred by some forms of DRM.

    Broadly speaking I definitely agree that devs should focus more on point 4, but I thought this had potential to be a valid concern.

  • Sik

    That’s usually the kind of people who would never pay for starters (since they will always be able to get the game for free regardless of business model) so there isn’t much point in going after them anyway.

    On the other hand, there are people who would like to pay but may not do so because they don’t like the developer, or because they find themselves unable to pay because they find it too expensive or because they don’t have a way to pay even if they have the money, or maybe there’s one problem with the game that renders them unable to play it. This is the people one should put more focus on, since they are indeed potential customers the developer isn’t catering to.

  • Wilson999

    Someone in the comments made the argument that Robert was being a bit idealistic, and that though he might be willing to pay for games as long as he wanted to, some people would never ever pay for a game if they could get it for free, regardless of what they thought of the devs or their business practices.

    I think this might be an issue with Robert’s argument, but without any knowledge of how big this theoretical group of people who would never pay without DRM actually is, it’s hard to say.

  • Sik

    YES, that’s what I have been saying all the time. As a bonus, spending time on “fixing” #6 is a complete waste of time and money (and you get nothing back, only your lawyers profit from it) and makes you look like a jerk, while focusing on #4 instead can help you get more money and gives you a better image at the same time, which also doubles as feedback.

    The problem I think is that it’s easier to justify going with #6 when you just want to be nice with shareholders who only care about seeing profits increase at any cost in the short term and don’t seem to care about how things work.